First U.S Federal Facility to Harness Biogas

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the first federal agency to directly use landfill gas to produce energy at one of its facilities. The federal space agency is using this Renewable Energy source to heat buildings at the Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland. The gas comes from the Sandy Hill Landfill owned by Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Washington D.C. – May 13, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “It is very encouraging that a large federal institution like NASA is using a local landfill as a source of Renewable Energy,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. “This project at Goddard Space Flight Center demonstrates how the federal government can lead the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and utilizing alternative energy sources.” NASA’s decision to utilize landfill gas, a Renewable Energy source, will result in significant economic and environmental benefits. By reducing their use of fossil fuels, NASA will save taxpayers millions of dollars over the next 10 years. The switch to a cleaner fuel source will also prevent as much pollution annually as planting 47,000 acres of trees, or removing 35,000 cars from Maryland’s roads. “Understanding and protecting our home planet is one of NASA’s key missions,” said NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe. “NASA monitors and studies our planet from our unique vantage point in space, and our Earth Sciences Enterprise also looks for ways to improve the quality of life on earth. This project directly benefits the earth by removing a significant amount of methane, a greenhouse gas, from the environment. We use this energy, virtually pollution-free, for power. Hopefully, projects like these will demonstrate the clean, efficient, cost effective use of renewable sources of energy.” The Goddard Space Flight Center landfill gas project is the culmination of a successful public-private partnership between Prince George’s County, Maryland, Waste Management, Toro Energy, NASA and EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program in pursuing the economic and environmental benefits of landfill gas energy. Currently, more than 340 landfills in the United States harness landfill gas for energy. If the greenhouse gas reductions from these projects were combined, it would have the same annual climate change benefit as planting 17 million acres of forest, or eliminating the emissions from 12 million cars. EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program is a voluntary assistance and partnership program that promotes the use of landfill gas as a Renewable Energy source. By preventing emissions of methane through the development of these energy projects, this EPA program helps businesses, states, and communities protect the environment and build a sustainable future. For more information on EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program, visit their site at the link below.
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